Separate voice unisons with accidentals

I’m wondering if there is a setting, maybe in notation options or engraving options, to make it so that when a (perfect) unison across separate voices has an accidental, only one accidental is shown. I know I can obviously use the properties panel (and the wonderful new toggle-accidental-state assignable shortcut!) to get rid of the second one, but in looking at this, my brain insists that there must be a global setting for it. Alas, however, I can’t find one. Googling and digging around in the forum doesn’t seem to turn anything up either.

Am I being dense, or is there really no setting for this?
Double accidental.PNG


There really is no setting for this. Each note is always fully qualified with its required accidental by default (and I really do think both accidentals are required).

Thanks, Daniel. While I’m obviously not of the same opinion on whether or not both accidentals should or must be shown, and while I do think my position has some oblique support from Gould (though, curiously, she doesn’t seem to ever explicitly mention it), it occurs infrequently enough that the current local controls will do perfectly fine. Just thought I’d check to see if I could save a few keystrokes here and there, though, for clarity and accuracy’s sake, perhaps I shouldn’t after all. Then again, why be accurate when you can save space? :laughing:

Do you really think that any practicing musician would have a problem reading an altered unison with only one accidental? I can’t imagine that anyone seeing that would think, ‘Gee, should that second note be altered, too?’ Isn’t that what it’s all about, clarity? If I were reading that through quickly and saw that double accidental, I could easily misinterpret it because it’s redundant, and redundancy can lead to confusion as well as clutter. And for the record, in her examples Gould most certainly doesn’t support that particular position about altered unisons! Having said this, however, if there were a rare situation in which including both accidentals would actually contribute to clarity, it’s great that Dorico is capable of it.

Vaughan Schlepp, thanks for the support! (I think?) Just to be clear, when you say “altered unison,” you are meaning a perfect unison with an accidental, correct? The Gould passage on “altered unisons” is actually about augmented and diminished unisons, in which each note requires a different accidental (e.g. C-natural and C-sharp).

The reason I said the passage might support my position is because in her example of how not to do altered unisons, she says the natural sign in front of the two F’s in the third measure would imply they’re both natural. That said, since she gives no further details, and there’s no mention at all of best practices for perfect unisons which require accidentals, it’s hard to say what she actually thinks on the subject.

On the one hand, of course, I agree, I don’t think it’s at all unclear to generally leave out the second accidental (especially with respect to the piece from which I pulled my original example, which is choral; I do think singers would generally find that cluttered or redundant), but I do see Daniel’s point that including both accidentals is technically more clear and correct, and there could indeed be other breeds of musicians or shudder percussionists (sorry… that’s some obscure Bible humor right there) that might prefer seeing both.

As it is, it would indeed be nice to have a global setting for it, but it’s easy enough to toggle the second one off :slight_smile:

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I agree with Vaughan Schlepp for common-practice period music or earlier, but for “modernist” scores, why take the chance of being misunderstood, for the sake of an extra accidental?

Agreed, although I be interested to see an example of an altered unison (same note in two voices) which would be made clearer by repeating the accidental.

I just invented this, but a minimalist composer might have written it, with two monophonic instruments on one staff.

Yikes. I’ve gotta say, I am indeed thankful for each and every one of those accidentals, most especially the pair of G-naturals.

Fair enough! :smiley:

I’d say that in contrapuntal organ music, depending on the century of the composer, the double unison wouldn’t be a bad thing at all. (I’m thinking something à la Hindemith organ sonatas.) I suppose it just depends on the context.

[the photo is not an example of this particular scenario; just a pic to show why such a doubled-accidental convention would neither be out of place or confusing.]

I’m not understanding the purpose of the image you posted here. There appear to be no unisons at all, least of all any that might imply an accidental issue.

I have a simple passage in an orchestral part, divided strings on one staff, and Dorico by default puts two sharps, one for each note of the unison.

from sources I trust implicitly, this is an error. only a single accidental is required.

This is Dorico’s default:

And this is how it should look:
notehead_question 2

You can have either. For a single accidental, select the downstem crotchet and hide accidental in properties.

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Of course we can do that manually, but this thread is about getting it automatically.

in this particular case, Dorico’s default should be the one that the user has to work to apply, while the one where we actually have to go change things should be the default.